Tennis Elbow is the name for a common injury or condition of the elbow. Often associated to sport players, it’s actually very often reported by those working in trades, at desks and other professions that require repetitive movements of the arm. It usually flares up when the tendons and muscles of the forearm are severely strained due to these repetitive movements or strenuous activity. Tennis elbow can also occur after banging or knocking your elbow. In straining the muscles and tendons in your forearm, tears can appear and inflammation with develop on the outside of the elbow. Here, we discuss the issues surrounding Tennis Elbow and look at ways in which to prevent this painful condition.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
You may be diagnosed with Tennis Elbow if you are experiencing the following symptoms or have difficulty:
- Pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of your elbow, upper and lower arm
- Pain when you try to lift or grip an object such as a sports equipment such as a golf club, or attempt to make a fist like motion with your hands
- Shaking hands with someone or opening or closing a door
- You cannot raise your hand or straighten your wrist
Diagnosis of the condition
Your physician will conduct various tests to check your ability to perform certain tasks and to determine where the pain is coming from on your arm. An X-ray or MRI scan may be also required to diagnose Tennis Elbow. Following this, a plan will be designed to help you recover.
Treatment and recovery
The good news is that in most cases, Tennis Elbow heals naturally after a period of resting the affected area. This may mean ceasing to play sports or rearranging your ergonomic set up at your computer desk. The tendonitis of the elbow can be treated in various ways to speed up the healing process. Consider support aids – an elbow strap or tape will help the affected area.
Initially, keep ice on the elbow to reduce inflammation and swelling for 20-30 minutes every four hours. Continue this for 2-3 days until there is no discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen will help ease pain and further swelling – it is important that these are not relied on for a long period of time as they could end up harming the healing process. Your physiotherapist will recommend performing a sequence of motion exercise which you should do frequently at home. If you are still having difficulty and pain in the elbow, you may need steroid injections which will offer short term benefits, but not address the complete problem.
Finally, surgery may be your last option when considering treatment for Tennis Elbow pain the UK – once you have exhausted all other options. If your pain and symptoms are not healing after a period of up to one year, you may be referred for surgery. This procedure will be undertaken by general anesthetic where the consultant will remove diseased muscle and work to reattach healthy muscle back to the bone.